Home > Gear > From Cowboy Brew to Girly Coffee

From Cowboy Brew to Girly Coffee

Even if you don’t intend to cook on the road, you still may want to have that morning cup-a-Joe before pushing off to the local diner.  For me, that morning cup is non-negotiable.  I don’t even want to think about breaking camp till I’ve sat quietly with my paws wrapped around a warm mug of strong brew.  There are some great light weight coffee pots out there.  I’ve tried the mini-espresso makers and they’re pretty good, but I really don’t like the cleanup.  I’ve also used a Big Sky Bistro coffee press/mug for many years and it makes a fine cup of coffee. 

But if we are thinking Ultralight, then coffee that doesn’t require carrying an extra piece of equipment is probably the answer.  I’m talking instant.  Stuff we’d turn our coffee-snob noses up at if it found its way into our cups at home may work on the road or trail.  My wife found single serving packets of freeze-dried Taster Choice that when mixed extra thick was not too bad.  No, it was not the fresh ground beans roasted by our neighborhood roaster, but we made do.  Maxwell House International Café, notice they are careful not to call it coffee, can be a caffeine and calorie packed treat.  It kind of makes you want to kick back and get your toe nails painted. 

Cowboy coffee, just throwing a handful of grounds into a pot of boiling water and skimming your coffee clean before drinking, is also an option.  This is difficult in a small titanium cooking mug.  I’m pretty sure no self respecting cowhand would pull out a small titanium cooking mug and a spork to make coffee.  I’d be interested in hearing how others make their coffee in camp.

 So, how do you make camp coffee?

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Categories: Gear
  1. james
    April 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    When backpacking, I usually go instant as well. I premix the coffee/sugar/creamer in a ziplock, shake to mix, then spoon it all in. I have also gone the “cowboy” route, when using a 1qt alum kettle that is my only pot/bowl/cup. The trick is to get it boiling good, then when thick enough (perish the thought!) dump in a handful of ice cold creek water (the hot water should kill the nasties, or use filtered if you are a sissy!). The cold water immediately stops the convection boil, and the slug of cold water sinks right to the bottom carrying 90% of the grounds with it. It’s amazing but it really works!

    Good travels!

  2. dexey
    April 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Anything instant made from the Arabica bean or a cup of tea, PG tips preferred, and a coffee at the first Costa or Starbucks that I find :0)
    I find that I am happy with black with sugar when in camp.

  3. April 19, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Instant?! Hiss… I also tossed my ‘Big Sky Bistro’ for tasting of plastic, and the lid splitting. Real men drink cowboy coffee, but if you must use instant, I have found nothing better than the evil Starbuck’s.

  4. April 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I’ll make my coffee with finely ground beans tossed in a pot of water. I’ll bring it to a boil remove for a few seconds and stir then repeat twice, stirring just the first time. Doing it this way means you can pour the brew into a cup and the majority of grounds stay in the pot. Tastes nice and strong, like a French press. No extra stuff to carry apart from the ground coffee.

  5. April 20, 2011 at 1:32 am

    “I’ll bring it to a boil remove for a few seconds and stir then repeat twice…” Heresy! Water for black tea should be at the boil; green tea and coffee just under. These are iron laws. If you want your grounds to settle for cowboy coffee, don’t boil, use eggshells, or swing the pot by its bail: stir the grounds down, or tap the side of the pot for a minute.

  6. The Velo Hobo
    April 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Looks as if I need to revisit cowboy coffee. There seems to be an art to the perfect pot. Thanks for all the comments, Jack

  7. September 28, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    New reply to an old post. I’ve done coffee two ways. Starbucks VIA or a little known product called Africafe that a coworker brought back from Tanzania (but is available through Amazon). I’m a black coffee person most of the time, and tend to brew my own at home to take into work with me, and I found both of these options quite tasty. I’d give the nod to Africafe for no other reason than it doesn’t come from Starbucks. 🙂

  8. The Velo Hobo
    September 29, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Africafe?? I’ll have to google that, sounds interesting. Thanks, Jack

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